AndFarAway is Now Eight

Internet, this blog has now been around for eight long years of millions of words and almost daily update, and to mark this occasion, I am out of words.

Jordan Planet 5th Blogger Meet-up

In 2005, here’s what I said about the occasion of its first anniversary:

It’s all recorded, it’s all archived, it’s all documented. It can be played, over and over again. It’s me, it’s mine, but the truth is, once I press “Publish”, those little pieces of myself that formed intelligible sentences are now on the journey of forever- forever attributed to me, forever belong to the World Wide Web.

How long I’m going to do it for, how long will it continue to serve as a void deficient of functional limits and realistic boundaries, I do not know.

At the moment though, this is my canvas- devoid of reality, devoid of rules, and devoid of people who insist on making the walls purple.

And I do it because I love it.

Roba and Abed

In 2006, AndFarAway turned two:

…so it’s been two years since my first post.

I started (typically) by uploading an image that I had saved years ago and which I thought was cute (might I add to that that at that point, Blogger still didn’t have the image upload feature and I had to figure out how to link images using html).

For And Far Away, there were no hellos, there were no introductions, there were no “this is my first post”-style first posts. There was a headfirst dive into the world of blogging. Splash, splash.


In 2007, I had just graduated from the University of Jordan, and to celebrate AndFarAway’s third anniversary, I gave you a recap on the blogging scene in the Arab world:

Somehow, Eman found my blog. She commented on a photo of Amman, citing that she was really to see some photographs of Amman as she really misses it. I felt like I did someone good, and so I blogged some more. Then Isam added me to Jordan Planet, and I discovered the community-feel of blogging. Then Haitham introduced me to Firefox and gave me many blogging tips, which made it all so much easier. Then Natasha organized the first Jordanian blogger meet-up, which took blogging offline. Then blogging came popular, and Jordan Planet became bigger. Then I became a part of Toot, the first Arab blog aggregator. Then blogging became too popular, and Jordan Planet shut down. Then Khaled started Jordan Blogs, and then Mazen bought Jordan Blogs. Now we’re all wondering what the heck is Jordan Pulse, and it keeps going on and on; a never ending cycle of fast-pace change on the blogosphere.

The blogging scene is now dead. No, not just dead… it died years ago. It has already rotted out of existence.


Last year, I was quite emotional in September, and I think that was reflected in the 7th-year anniversary post:

Through friendships. Through loves found. Through health. Through growth. Through first jobs. Through joy. Through things that change the world. Through deaths. Through college. Through self discoveries. Through lots of coffee. Through career changes. Through depression. Through fresh starts. Through sickness. Through obsessions. Through loves lost. Through addictions. Through revolutions. Through good conversations. Through boredom. Through technological milestones. Through pain. Through Amman.

It’s been a while, somehow. Yet, it seems like yesterday that I celebrated its first birthday.

But it wasn’t yesterday.

It was seven long years ago.

It was a different lifetime.

A different me.

A different you.

A different world.

Indeed. A different everything.

Internet, thank you for reading.

Mashrou Leila brings down the house in Amman again

Last night’s Mashrou Leila concert in the Roman amphitheater, organized by Art Medium, was absolutely awesome. The event was very well organized, the music was brilliant (as always), and the setting was perfect. Hat tip to Alaa Wardi and Hayajan too, I especially loved the Arabic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

Here’s Mashrou Leila’s performance of “Em Il Jacket”:

On a different, more serious note, it’s amazing how magical the location was: an amphitheater built by the Romans well over 2,000 years ago. It ins’t just the gorgeousness of the place either, it’s the symbolism.

Mashrou Leila’s contemporary Arab energy in an ancient place was in perfect harmony with the current situation in the region. The music and the act captured the clash of civilizations, the clash of ideologies, and the clash of modern mentalities and ancient mentalities.

The nature of the city and the nature of our lives was laid bare for all to see: here we are hidden in the midst of the real world. Here we are dancing and singing nonchalantly while things burn outside. Here we are, trying, but not really. We sing and lament the realities, wishing they were different.

As Leila says, “Let’s burn down this city and build a more honorable one.”

ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﺤﺮﻕ ﻫﺎﻟﻤﺪﻳﻨﺔ
ﻭﻧﻌﻤﺮ ﻭﺍﺣﺪﺓ ﺃﺷﺮﻑ
ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﻨﺴﻰ ﻫﺎﻟﺰﻣﺎﻥ
ﻭﻧﺤﻠﻢ ﺯﻣﻦ ﺃﻟﻄﻒ
ﻣﺎ ﺯﺍﻟﻚ ﺑﻼ شي
ﻣﺎ ﻓﻴﻚ ﺗﺨﺴﺮ شي
ﻭﺃﻧﺎ ﻣﻠﻴﺖ ﻣﻦ ﻋﺸﺮﺓ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﻛﻴﻒ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻏﻴﺮﻧﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﺇﺣﻤﻞ ﺍﻟﺴﻤﺎﺀ ﻭﻫﻸ ﺃﻧﺠﻖ ﺣﺎﻣﻞ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ

I don’t think there’s a song that captures my mood these days as perfectly.

Or no. Maybe it’s these lines from “Ghadan Yawmon Afdal”: “Now all you have to do is learn to avoid these discussions that will never go anywhere, anyway. They won’t save your family nor change the world. Get up so that you don’t go crazy, it’s better if you just learn to ignore.”

بقى تتعلم تتفادى أحاديث بعمرها بتوديش
لا رح تنقذ أهلك ولا رح بتغير عالم
شنا الناس دايماً بتنتقم وعمرها ما بتحبش
قوم بلاش ما تنفصم أشرفلك بس تطنش

Or maybe it’s as simple as “Elhal Romancy”. Get up. Paste that smile on. Do what you’re expected to do; get married, have a few kids, invite your family to kharoof il Eid every now and then. Things have been going just fine.

ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﺇﻥ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺭﺟﻞ ﺃﻡ ﻣﺼﺮﻑ ﺁﻟﻲ
ﺑﺲ ﺍﻷﺟﺎﺭ ﻳﺎ ﺧﻴﻲ ﺻﺎﻳﺮ ﺳﻮﺑﺮ ﻏﺎﻟﻲ
ﺗﺰﻭﺟﻨﻲ ﻭﺁﻗﺮﺃ ﺃﻧﺠﻠﺰ في ﺳﺮﻳﺮﻱ
ﺇﺫﺑﺢ الخروف ﻗﺴﻢ ﻭﺯﻉ عالجيري
الحل ﺭﻭﻣﺎﻧﺴﻲ ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺣﺒﻚ ﻛﺴﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﻄﺎﻉ الخاص ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺯﻓﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﻭﺱ ﺯﻓﻮﻫﺎ

I’ve been listening to Mashrou Leila for years, but I think I finally grasped the desperateness of their music. “ﻻ ﺗﻌﻤﻠﻲ ﺟﻮﻧﻐﺎﺭ”, they say (Don’t attempt to be a superhero),”ﻣﺎﺷﻲ ﻭﺍﻟﺰﻓﺖ ﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﺑﻮﺟﻬﻲ” (I’m walking and the shit is hitting me straight in the face).


On a side note, how perfectly appropriate is my new t-shirt from Jo Bedu?

A Love Ode to Mashrou Leila
An Interview with Mashrou Leila
After the First Mashrou Leila
Mashrou Leila: Revolution Generation
More Reasons to Love Mashrou Leila